Listen to anyone's story of their travels and it may be interesting, or it may be only so-so. One of the places that perks everyone's ears up when mentioned, though, is Tahiti. It is a magical place, the mention of which fills most with a sense of mystery, excitement, and curiosity. A sense of luxury is implied, as well as a vacation which will be unforgettable. Most people will never experience the wonder of walking the beaches of this amazing island at dusk, and they do not know what they are missing. In this post, we will let you know a bit about this vacation jewel, and why it's imperative for you to make it one of your dream vacations.
Location and General Info
Tahiti is located in the South Pacific archipelago (chain of islands, usually formed by volcanic activity), and has two distinct sections to the main island. It's shaped like a figure eight, with a large section, Tahiti Nui, and the smaller peninsula section to the east, Tahiti Iti. Tahiti Island is basically two extinct volcanos very close together, risen out of the sea to create a paradise. The islands as a group, are also known as Tahiti, or French Polynesia. Tahiti is made up of five main island groups, Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Raiatea, and Taha'a. Notable famous people in history are associated with the islands, as it was explored by Captain James Cook, and painted by the famous French artist Gauguin.
Tahiti Is Gorgeous
Have you ever heard of black or white sand beaches and wondered where they were? Well, wonder no longer, because miles of beautiful beaches full of both types of sand is one of the trademarks of the island. Turquoise waters surround the island and are absolutely clear. The sand shelves before a deep ocean drop off extend very far out from each island. No matter where you are on the island, or how deep the water, you can always see the bottom as if you were looking through a window. Lagoons almost everywhere you look, beautiful places, and amazing nature are not the exception, but everywhere you look.
Think about it. You are looking at a stingray, moving across the seabed, with colorful coral and anemones everywhere you look, many species of fish swimming about, and all of this through crystal clear beautiful water. From your breakfast table. A very common type of hotel stay on Tahiti is the overwater bungalow, which is basically a house on stilts out in a lagoon or cove off of the beach. And pretty much all of them have a dining room table over a glass floor, and a wonderful deck out over the ocean. If for nothing else, relaxing in a place like that is completely worth it.
Sharks, Snorkeling, and Air Tanks
There are literally hundreds of stunning dive sites around the islands, where you can choose drift dives, oceanic drop-offs, sunken ships, coral reefs, and many lagoon dives with abundant marine life. The snorkeling areas are just as fabulous, and numerous, as the dive sites. Ever see a giant manta ray? Pretty much a guaranteed sight for divers and snorkelers in Tahiti. If you aren’t a diver, but want to learn, there are many places you can get certified in just a few days, and the courses are fantastic excursions in and of themselves. A dream vacation can start with just that idea alone! Also tied to the water activities is the shark-feeding excursion. You can literally stand in the water while docile sharks are right in front of you! It doesn’t get much cooler than that.
One of the other things Tahiti is renowned for is its pearls. Tahiti has pearl culturing farms that can be toured on seven islands, and these precious items are unique in the world. They come in many sizes, shapes, and colors, and there are pearl sellers dotting every island. Also, the fairly unique Tahitian black pearls can be found just about everywhere. You will find some of the best prices you have ever seen for pearls as well.
Want to take a dive? There are even underwater dives available on some of the tours and you can try to get pearls the way the freedivers still do. A great experience, and you sometimes get to keep what you catch!
Yet another unique experience is the motu picnic. You can have a private or small group picnic on a motu. Whether you are having one from your resort on the island, or a cruise ship coming in, these tiny islets inside the lagoons provide awesome and perfect places where you can eat a gourmet prepared meal, either under a coconut tree, or even in the shallow waters of the lagoon itself! It is an experience that is literally once in a lifetime, and the food to be had on these motu picnics is, bar none, some of the tastiest you will ever eat.
The Best Spa You’ve Never Heard Of
Tahiti is actually one of the world's best spa destinations, with spa procedures that are available nowhere else on the planet, such as body wraps in fresh banana tree leaves or deep ocean water treatments. The interesting thing about Tahitian spas is that they are almost exclusively open-air and located in picturesque garden areas facing blue lagoons. They aim to combine touch, vision, sound, taste, and smell together into a treatment for the five senses. It’s overwhelmingly relaxing. By the way, we loved the body scrub with sand and rice and grated coconuts, combined with a massage.
Actually, the origin of the word tattoo is French Polynesia. In times past, ritual tattoos were applied when children reached adolescence. As someone progressed within society and age, they acquired increasingly complex tattoos, many times which told a story, if you knew how to read it.
Tattoos are still considered signs of beauty. Remember, a tattoo artist on the islands will respect your wishes to get a tattoo. They are experienced like you wouldn’t believe and can do amazing things with ink. Tahitian tattoos are also often copied, but never authentically. Even the untrained eye can always tell a tattoo from the islands.
What could be better than going to paradise and catching a few waves? Nothing. Surfing in Tahiti is an ancient tradition and very much alive today. You can still see people surfing with the old style wooden surfboards, and coming back to their hut on the beach. Many surfing competitions head to Tahiti for the perfect conditions, great surf break, and heavy, glassy waves. There are places for the not-so-established, but to be fair, Tahiti, specifically the Teahupo’o district, is home to some of the gnarliest waves in the world, and brings the best of the best for the challenge year after year.
Tahiti is surprisingly close. It’s only an eight-hour plane ride from Los Angeles, and five from Hawaii. Flight prices are partially subsidized from French Polynesia itself, so traveling there is not as expensive as you might think. Getting a flight as part of a package is a great way to save money on your vacation.
What do you think about Tahiti? Have you been, or know someone close to you who has? Are you planning to go there and have found the deal of a lifetime? Give us a shout in the comments to let us know!